1st of Vhalar 721
It was unlike Rakvald to go so long without a word spoken to anyone, even if in passing to himself. Not one for prolonged absences from society. Yet the population in the area around Etzos, and even within it seemed to be emptied of all civilized life, or extremely scaled back and cloistered behind their doors hiding from a plague that had already run its course. Yet for all that, there were whispers of insects acting unusual, pointing toward some lingering influence of the Plague Mother.
Rakvald didn't know much about many of the Immortals. Though he'd lived many incarnations, he rarely concerned himself with issues of mysticism beyond that of the dream world. And even that had fallen by the wayside, with much of his abilities in that area stripped from his grasp. So he was left with his physical strength, his arcane might, and an instinct to survive against the odds of a wilderness that very much skewed on the side of wishing to kill him.
Yet he persisted. Hunting for his own subsistence, and erecting ramshackle lean-tos when he needed sleep, or else finding a cave that was unoccupied. He learned how to live among the savagery of nature, more than he had during his time in Desnind or any of the jungles of the Southern Continent. Even his time spent in Uthaldria had been with the flock, enjoying the best aspects of civilized life among his brothers. He tracked for beasts in the wilderness, marking the shapes they left in their tracks. Finding the difference between insectoids, mammalian, and reptilian tracks was simple enough, but finding the more nuanced difference between specific families of animals was another matter.
It'd been too long since the blonde in him had tamed a wild beast. Much of his prior years had been occupied by the hunt, and of finding totems to add to his 'family. He never considered how lonely he was, when he had all the totems there, waiting to join him in the world of Idalos, to walk again, to hunt again, to speak again. It would do him good to meet another creature out there, one that wasn't immediately hostile.
So as Rakvald was dressing the meats of an animal, resting beneath a dirty shelter, torn from the earth by a storm that ripped a tree out of its roots. It made a good shelter, for the time being. He tore up the meats with his knife, one he'd managed to barter for from a man in a nearby town. There were too many tools and not enough people to wield them. The Plague, by all accounts, had ripped through the population with ease and ferocity. There was a point past the adage that one man's loss was another's misfortune. There was a point where the ability to call upon others of your kind to your aid was more valuable than any tracest or treasure they left behind.
Etzos had too much treasure, too many resources, and not enough people to enjoy it.
Rakvald finished skinning the small rabbit that had caught on one of his snares. There were other hares about, which had been trapped in his spiked pits. Perhaps he was being greedy, but then there were few enough to enjoy these morsels. He couldn't regret taking the lion's share.
Once the meats were harvested, he set out toward his destination. It was a nearby wolf pack that he'd been tracking. He wished to make of at least one of them, a willing companion. There were stragglers about the pack, that were not proper members which he'd observed. These would be the first among his targets.